What is the Definition of Prototype and the Types, Process, and More

Peter Martinez updated on 2024-06-06 13:45:32

"What is a prototype and what are the different types of prototyping methods out there?"

If you are also new to designing or product development, then you can have a similar query about prototype definition. Since the prototyping process can vary depending on so many situations, it is important to cover your basics first. To help you clear your doubts regarding the prototype meaning, I have come up with this guide. In this post, I will discuss things like prototyping definition, types of prototyping, prototype process, and so on.

The Definition of Prototype

In nutshell, a prototype depicts the overall design or a model of a product that is considered as a foundation for product development. Most of the time, it provides the overall design model of a product (like an app or a website) from the user's perspective. On the basis of how detailed a prototype is, it can be used to depict low, medium, or high fidelity.

To understand the prototype meaning, you should know that it is considered as the first step in product designing with the following benefits:

  • It helps us convert our ideas into a tangible product design.
  • It acts as the first step in product development that leads to further iterations.
  • If you are stuck on a problem, then the prototype process can help you solve it.
  • A prototype can be used to communicate with your team and help in brainstorming.
  • You can test different possibilities and trackback the user journey on the interface.
  • It will help you break down your product into different parts to help in its designing.
  • It is an inexpensive way to make others know about the basic structure of your product.

To further understand what is a prototype, you can go through the following example. It is a medium-fidelity prototype of a chatting app that features its conversation interface. With this prototype, you can make others understand about the design of the app and how a user can access its functions.

The Best Online Platform for Prototyping

Now when you know what does prototype mean, you can easily create one by using a reliable application like Wondershare Mockitt . Using this online solution, you can work on all types of prototyping solutions from any device. Apart from an online tool, the desktop application of Wondershare Mockitt can also be downloaded on Windows and Mac.

prototype definition
  • On Wondershare Mockitt, you can find several readily available templates that you can choose and customize to save your time in editing.
  • The online prototyping tool features hundreds of static and dynamic widgets that you can use to create prototypes with low, medium, or high fidelity.
  • With simple drag-and-drag actions, you can work on all types of prototypes and export them in formats like SVG, HTML, or PNG.
  • It also lets us import Sketch projects with no compatibility issues. You can also work on all kinds of transitions in your designs.
  • Users can select the perspective they wish to work on (like mobile or web) and get a live preview of their designs.


  • Both online and offline solutions
  • Tons of templates and demos available
  • Seamless options to work in teams and share projects

Different Types of Prototyping Options

After learning the prototype meaning, you could know how diverse the concept it. That's why the overall prototype process can't be confined into certain categories. There are all types of prototyping methods that would depend on the application and the implementation of the model.

On the Basis of Fidelity

Essentially, fidelity is a key component that you should be aware of while learning the prototype meaning. It represents how close the prototype would be to the real product and can distinguish the prototype process in these 3 stages.

  • Low Fidelity
    This is also known as a throwaway prototype as it is pretty easy to make and only provides the basic idea of the product. These kinds of designs are made during brainstorming sessions without taking the assistance of any tool.
  • Medium Fidelity
    These types of prototyping models are a bit advanced, but they still don't go much into designing details. Only the basic idea of the product and the way it is linked is focused from a user's perspective.
  • High Fidelity
    These are the most detailed kinds of designs you can work on during a prototype process. The design closely resembles the actual product with all the transitions, pictures, logos, and so on.

On the Basis of Representation

Apart from the fidelity of the design, there can also be different types of prototyping techniques based on what we need to represent.

  • Functional prototypes
    As the name suggests, this would depict the function of the product and how things would be handled at the back end. Instead of a user perspective, they are more inclined towards the development process.
  • Display prototypes
    These are just the opposite of functional prototypes as they only depict the user's perspective and the overall display of the product.

  • Miniatures
    They are the perfect blend of the functional and display prototypes as they are equally focused on the product's front and back end. While they aren't the actual product, they can be considered as their miniature version.

What is the Overall Prototype Process?

As you can see, there can be different types of prototyping processes out there and each one of them can have distinctive methods. Though, when we talk about an overall prototype process, then it can have these common stages.

  • Prototypical definition of the product
    At first, you need to define the product and try to ideate your thought process. For instance, you should know the platform on which the product would run and what purpose it would serve.
  • Use a Prototyping tool
    Afterward, take the assistance of a reliable tool like Wondershare Mockitt to work on your prototype. You can choose to create a low, medium, or high fidelity prototype that would focus on the product's front or back end. There are several design elements in Wondershare Mockitt that would make the prototype process easier for you. The application will also let you select the environment and perspective of your choice. Also, you can easily share your projects with others to get their immediate feedback.
  • Iterate
    You can't get an ideal prototype for the first time. Once you have created the foundation of the design, keep iterating the process. You can use Wondershare Mockitt to get a live preview of your projects so that you can see how the changes would be reflected. As you would iterate, you can come up with the beta and alpha phases of your design.

This brings us to the end of this extensive guide on what is a prototype and the different types of prototyping. Apart from listing a useful prototyping definition, I have also included a resourceful tool that you can use to create all kinds of designs. Feel free to explore more about prototype meaning or the prototype process and check the freely available tool of Wondershare Mockitt to come up with stunning prototypes in a jiffy.